As the Conservative movement began grappling this week with the implications of the landmark Law Committee ruling paving the way for gay ordination, thousands of Conservative Jewish leaders are to shortly be polled for their opinion on the issue.
Homosexual Jews may now be ordained as Conservative rabbis and rabbis now may perform same-sex unions, according to a landmark ruling Wednesday by the movement’s rabbinical committee that interprets Jewish law.
At the same time, the committee also upheld the current ban on gay rabbis or teachers, or other leadership positions.
The split decision, rendered after two days of deliberations here by the 25-member Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, was made possible because five position papers were considered and each needed only six votes to be considered valid.
The sex abuse scandal that rocked the Orthodox Union’s National Conference on Synagogue Youth three years ago is “now behind us,” insists the group’s newly appointed national youth director, Zale Newman, who has announced a major recruitment effort.
Newman, a 35-year veteran of NCSY activities — almost all on a volunteer basis — is retiring from a lucrative financial services business in Toronto to assume the top post of the youth organization, which focuses on outreach to teenagers.
Multi-billion-dollar lawsuits against Russia, Hungary and Germany were filed in Manhattan Federal Court Wednesday seeking compensation or the return of artwork looted by the Nazis and kept by those countries.
Joram Deutsch, a spokesman for the plaintiffs, said the artwork has been “documented as being stolen from Holocaust victims” and that the three countries have “taken the position that they can retain the paintings or delay their return, regardless of their origin.”
The umbrella organization representing American Jewry is planning to issue a statement this week saying a majority of its members support the Gaza disengagement plan. But a draft circulated at midweek falls short of an outright endorsement by the Conference on Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, according to several members who have seen the statement.
As Israel this week waged its bloodiest army operation against Hamas in Gaza and lashed out at the United Nations for alleged complicity with the terrorists, the Sharon administration’s motive for the Gaza disengagement was called into question.
Dov Weissglass, Sharon’s senior adviser, told the Israeli daily Haaretz that “the significance of the disengagement is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.
Torahs from the Suffolk Jewish Center in Deer Park were marched and driven five miles to the Dix Hills Jewish Center under bright sunny skies Sunday as the two Long Island congregations celebrated their merger with singing, dancing and food.
As police and fire trucks led the way and a klezmer band played, Dr. Martin Feller, a founder of the Dix Hills Jewish Center, recalled a similar march 30 years ago when he and fellow congregants carried Torahs from their rented house to their then-new home at Vanderbilt Parkway and DeForest Road.
Jews are like canaries in coal mines, an early warning system, according to former New York Mayor Edward Koch, who will head the U.S. delegation to an international conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin next week.
The delegation will include Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Monitoring and quelling anti-Jewish acts is a way of safeguarding all minorities, said Koch.
Although the Palestinian Authority is planning new elections for early 2005, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom suggested Wednesday the vote will do nothing to promote the peace process, revealing for the first time that the current leadership rebuffed an offer to meet with him earlier this year.
Shalom, in a Jewish Week interview Wednesday, said that while visiting Spain a few months ago, then Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Martinos told him during dinner that Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia and Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath were coming to Madrid.
Tuvia Teldon, the Chabad rabbi who is opening the first new day school in Suffolk County in more than a dozen years, had hoped that changing the name of his school would have placated critics who believe it will be a divisive force in the community.
Now, on the eve of the first day of classes next Wednesday, the barbs are still flying but Rabbi Teldon — who removed the word “Community” from the school’s name after stinging criticism that his school, in fact, is Lubavitch — believes they’re unjustified.